Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife
Summertime hiking tours occur on this trail, so if you want to avoid slowing down for an opportunity to pass these groups, get started by 9 a.m. or earlier. Also, around lunch time seems to be relatively quiet for group activity.
I rarely see dogs along this trail, which is a big plus. Some visitors and locals alike avoid this trail because of the large number of black bears in the area.
A beautiful loop through young rain forest with approximately 650 ft of elevation gain. Much of this trail was covered by glacial ice 100 years ago, yet vegetation has grown so rapidly that it's mostly a closed canopy already. This feature means less rain and wind to deal with, which is nice during inclement weather.
The trail can be accessed from Mendenhall Glacier parking lot in Juneau, AK. I always run it counterclockwise, starting by the mini lake and finishing by the visitor center. The trail is somewhat rocky in places on the ascent in this direction. The first half is also the wettest, with a lot of hillside drainage during typical rainy weather. However, there is very little mud even in the worst conditions.
Once you reach the top of the long wooden stairs, it 's pretty much all downhill from there. It's really fun to push it to the summit, then quickly catch your breath and fly down the switchbacks. Just be careful not to trip over any of the occasionally protruding rocks. Once you've finished coming down the switchbacks, there is one obvious viewpoint where the glacier can be seen--at least for the time being.
Flora & Fauna
Bear, deer, porcupine. Alder and willow, spruce, and hemlock trees.
Shared By: Gary Spargo